Memories of staying during the summer in a century-old beach house in "old" north Florida…

…meant wearing a bathing suit and smelling like sunscreen 16 hours a day.

…meant doing without air conditioning, carpet, dryers and water drinkable from the tap.

…meant sleeping on the porch which fit three beds, one a wooden army cot from WWII.

…meant evacuating the porch and finding somewhere else to sleep if it stormed during the night.

…meant wearing shoes once a week to go to church.

…meant sweeping up a pound of sand every day from the front screened porch.

…meant knowing if you touched the wrong spot on the stove you’d be shocked.

…meant story-telling on the front porch after dark.

…meant turning the light on by pulling a string hanging from the ceiling.

…meant plays put on by the cousins for the adults.

…meant living not by the clock, but by the sun and tides.

…meant pancake eating contests in the morning (the most I ever ate was 15).

…meant going crabbing in the mornings using an old string with one end wound around a stick, some loose bolts and nails for weight and perhaps a chicken neck for bait.

…meant hearing the waves and the wind in the palm trees every moment of the day and night.

…meant everyone taking a nap in the afternoon, no matter the age.

…meant a large refrigerator on the back porch from well before you were born that worked beautifully and was the holding place for watermelon and beer.

…meant not worrying about what your hair looked like.

…meant learning how to throw a cast-net or shrimp-net.
…meant eating a lot of fresh mullet.
…meant surviving biting caterpillars, mosquitoes, yellow jackets, touch-me-nots (flowers), snakes, sharks, jellyfish, cabbage heads, prickly pears, sand spurs, skinks…
…meant stiff, dried-on-the-line, old towels and a sky light in the bathroom.
…meant hand-made birthday presents like a checkers board made from drift-wood with pieces made from black and white shells.
…meant a looooong walk down the slope of the oyster shell driveway, across the (only) road, through the wilderness of palms, briers, morning glories, sea oats, marsh grass, etc., over the dunes and across the wide stretch of beach…to go swimming.

…meant building a hut out of bamboo and palm fronds.

…meant learning how to play gin rummy, slapjack and war.

…meant iron beds, ladder-back chairs, a wood burning stove original to the house (full of tools), a porch swing, a dining table so big that it was built in place.

…meant every “window” sill lined with rows of shells, some collected fifty years ago.

…meant putting wet washcloths in the freezer for 20 minutes, taking them out frozen solid, and putting them on your head when the temperature was above 100 for days on end.

…meant having the beach to yourself.

…meant the Fourth of July celebrated by a cookout on the beach and sparklers for everyone.
…meant home-made firecrackers made from bamboo put in the fire.
…meant reading Readers Digest Condensed books from 1954.
…meant candles stuck in old wine bottles found on the beach.
…meant using utensils in the kitchen that you later realized were probably valuable antiques.
…meant hating to leave, missing the smell of the beach house, realizing you lived in the lap of luxury in your regular house, still getting sand out of your scalp when school started.

8 thoughts on “Memories of staying during the summer in a century-old beach house in "old" north Florida…

  1. Quando não achamos mais chão em baixo dos nossos pés acabamos entrando em desespero, foi isso o que me aconteceu esses dias, porém jamais deixei de acreditar na força de Jesus. Ao acaso acabei acessando seu belíssimo blog e me deparei com suas palavras confortantes, a principio pensei “como é possível orar com meus pés, isso deve ser alguma brincadeira!” mais ao ver a mensagem que você passou com doçura acabou tocando meu coração. Obrigado por me fazer feliz esta noite! Deus a abençoe eternamente! 🙂

    Atenciosamente.

    Rodrigo Martins (Tarsier).

    Brasil.

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  2. Rodrigo, eu estou tão feliz que tenha gostado de visitar e que essas palavras lhe trouxe conforto e felicidade. Você é bem-vindo de volta a qualquer momento. Obrigado pelas suas amáveis ​​palavras!

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  3. That sounds amazing…. I have some similar memories, although it was more “lap of luxury” as it was with a rich French family… but the sand, the beach, the food, the hours spent outdoors building little huts out of the foliage, the giant hill of a driveway that I finally managed to bike up (and not walk it!) by the end of my time with them… 🙂 the big porch swing the size of a couch that I could nap on, pulling the long plastic dining room table out onto the porch for dinner, NOT trying steak tar-tar…. pizzas with an egg cooked into the middle… searching for mussels and always coming back with sliced up toes (from said mussels), the snack shack at the inlet beach, learning to wakeboard. What memories!

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  4. We were just there and are always in awe that the “old place” is still standing. It's a remarkable house. Papa has made two hatches where the jalousie windows were and plans to make them across the porch. The breeze was wonderful and the water just right for swimming. We were fortunate. So glad that your children had a chance to visit. In this day and time, its like an adventure and we just thought of it as a “summer house.”

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